Friday, August 07, 2015
Politics of Negotiation
In any negotiation,everybody will put up reasoning and persuasions to justify their positions or claims. Examples, hypothetical comparisons and illustrations will be used to make a point.
During the discussion of the Marine Parade GRC, an illustration of the undesirability of 3 corner fight was made using the example of Aljunied GRC, to make a point that 3 corner is totally unhelpful. Unfortunately this was quoted out of context and deliberately leaked to the media to make a big hoo-haa over it.
Subsequently, a secret ballot was called to show which side has a more convincing argument over Marine Parade. This voting has nothing to do with "small parties against WP" mentally but rather, was made in good spirit to register the perception of those in attendance on the matter, since it was the major deadlock of the meeting. This secret voting was non-binding but for the WP representatives to convey the opinion expressed by those who were present to their leaders.
It is with deep regret that such misinformation was exploited to make opposition as whole look very bad.
The truth is, we have made tremendously progress in good spirit with almost all opposition parties participating actively in making the necessary compromises so that our aim of eliminating multi-corner fights could be achieved. When you first see the mind-blogging charts of competing claims, don't panic or assumed that there is a massive disagreement. That is not true at all.
Every party needs to take a breather from the first meeting to discuss with their own CEC members to decide how to proceed from the negotiation. Each party knows exactly what transpired and how other parties think or what were their preferences and desires. It would take some time for everyone to digest and rethink on their own positions. Some might even call up each other for bilateral talks. This will help everyone to resolve the conflicting claims in the second meeting.
True enough, the second meeting was pretty smooth as compared to the first one, using only 1 hour to resolve all differences (save and except for WP who did not turn up) in contrast to the 3 hours used in the first meeting.
I have attended two such previous "Unity Meetings" (yes, TWO and you may wonder which two! ;) ) and I understand how it works. Thus, I was pretty confident that things could work out well. Unfortunately, the Main Stream Media has preyed on the first meeting to present "Opposition fighting each other", which we have denied repeatedly! The meetings were cordial, sometimes fun (yes, we did crack jokes from time to time) and most importantly encouraging with all of us clapping whenever any party relented on their claims to make ways for others!
I am very glad that it is within my expectation that most conflicting claims have been resolved (saved and except for WP because they did not send any representatives for second meeting) and all are well!
My sincere and heart felt thanks to ALL participants/leaders of opposition parties to make this possible. Special thanks to SDP for making the critical compromise which allows us to resolve many entangling conflicts in double quick time. Thanks to SingFirst which has shown great Wisdom in accepting good reasoning so much so that it would agree to give way in good faith.
Last but not least, special thanks to NSP which has made PPP's contest in CCK a clear shot without 3 corner fight.
I hope that with this clarifications, we can put all the bad press behind us and work together to fight against one common opponent, PAP.
Goh Meng Seng